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Farooq Abdullah pitches for LoC trade expansion

Srinagar, March 29, :  National Conference President Dr Farooq Abdullah Tuesday said New Delhi and Islamabad should actively work towards opening additional trade and travel routes along the Line of Control.

Speaking at a function organized to welcome Shabir Ahmed Mir into National Conference, Dr Farooq Abdullah said there was no alternative to Indo-Pak friendship and cooperation and that terrorism was a common threat to both countries.

NC Working President Omar Abdullah was also present on the occasion to welcome the new entrants to the party. Others who joined the party on this occasion include Kaiser Jalali, grandson of veteran Kashmiri leader Aga Syed Jalali and Master Maqbool Ahmed, former District President Budgam for the Congress Party, a party statement said this afternoon.

“I have always maintained that terrorism is a universal enemy and there could be no possible distinction between acts and ideologies of terror and violence. What happened in Lahore is heart rending and painful. Time has come when we realize we need to be united in fighting violence and terror and safeguard the future of our coming generations. During my previous visits to the United States and Europe, I always maintained how there can be no possible justification for violence and how an equivocal attitude and ambiguity towards terrorism would prove to be detrimental to global peace and stability. Unfortunately those apprehensions proved to be true and the specter of violence is now consuming more innocent lives than we could have imagined back then,” Dr Farooq Abdullah said while addressing party workers at NC Head Office in Srinagar.

Demanding the opening of additional trade and travel routes across the Line of Control (LoC), Dr Farooq Abdullah said an increased people-to-people contact would be the greatest weapon to defeat terror and those who believed in exploiting sentiments for violence. “Time has come to open the Jammu-Sialkot route for travel and trade. The Kargil-Skardu route should be thrown open and efforts should be made to open every possible route along the Line of Control to connect people on the two sides. Similarly New Delhi and Islamabad should encourage people to travel to each other’s countries and experience the commonalities in culture and philosophy and the universal bonds of brotherhood. To remain isolated in our own perception and mind-sets will lead to an increased polarization in the world where people will be pitted against one another by those who want to keep the pot boiling,” Dr Farooq Abdullah added.

“National Conference will remain committed to the goal of encouraging New Delhi and Islamabad to engage in sustained talks and work towards the resolution of all outstanding issues between the two neighbours. We have always maintained that Kashmir is a political issue that needs a political solution and we will continue to strive for the restoration of sustained peace in the State. National Conference has always chosen sacrifices over power and we will continue to uphold our ideals and values,” Farooq added.

Welcoming Shabir Ahmed Mir from Tangmarg, Kaiser Jalali and Master Maqbool Ahmed into the party, Dr Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah said National Conference remained committed to the goal of restoring the honour and dignity of the State and its people. Asking the new entrants to work hard towards strengthening the party at the grassroots level, Dr Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah ensured all possible support to the new entrants in their ultimate goal to serve the people of the State.